Its plumage is black, its silhouette is similar to that of a small crossbow, its legs are very short and its claws are sharp to be able to cling firmly to the walls… The black swift is the “great wounded” of the center treatment for wild animals L’Hirondelle in Saint-Forgeux in the Rhône.
“Beyond 34°C, the temperature felt under the roof is an additional 10°C and can go up to 50°C… Like an oven, a real sauna”, explains Adeline Audibert, 36, volunteer since 2014 at the “martin pole” of this center.
“When it’s too hot, the little swifts suffocate and seek coolness, so they rush into the void or fall from the nest”, continues this apodidae enthusiast, who promises to get one tattooed on her back.
The population of this species is “declining”, even “particularly threatened”, warns Adeline, who has seen the center recover between 800 and 900 swifts per year and welcome 200 more individuals this year compared to 2021.
This, because of the increasingly strong heat waves from year to year, but also because of the lack of food of the swifts, the insects becoming more and more rare “when it is very hot or very cold”, adds the caregiver.
Presented as one of the largest care centers in France in terms of the number of individuals treated (approximately 7,000 care per year of 130 different species, including 80% birds and 20% mammals), L’Hirondelle recovers, treats and releases all injured wildlife reported to him in the departments of Rhône, Loire, Drôme and Ardèche.
“A real samu for animals”, compares the association’s development manager, Anne Fourier, explaining that volunteers can move to recover injured wildlife from “discoverers”, people who called them to save animals in bad shape. point.
The June heat wave was “very deadly”, “it broke records in terms of reception”, indicates the 37-year-old volunteer, member of the association since 2013.
“Since the beginning of the year, we have welcomed more than 4,600 animals, including 1,600 in June alone”, details this great enthusiast, who remembers “the hell” that the center had experienced during the heat wave of 2019 It had to close its doors, having reached the maximum of its capacities.
Also cave-dwelling, the house swallow, the blackbird, the black redstart, or the house sparrow are also “strongly impacted” by the heat.
After 90 swallows welcomed in 2021, 63 have already been treated in mid-2022.
For sparrows, 233 from January to July 2022 against 181 on the same date in 2021 and 97 against 56 for black redstarts.
“When we have a peak in temperatures, we double the arrivals of animals”, indicates Pascal Tavernier, the director of the center since its creation in 1998, the features drawn.
However, the keepers expected to receive even more birds, recognizes the 45-year-old man. “It surely means that the heat is so strong that they were already dead”.
– “More sensitive” –
The increase in support is also explained by the evolution of mentalities, assures Mr. Tavernier. “People are more sensitive to the animal condition than before”.
Eva Lamourette, 24, is proof of this. Originally from Valencia, she called the center on Tuesday for a young black swift.
“He was on the ground and not moving, he must have been dehydrated,” said the discoverer.
“I love animals and I would have had a very bad conscience if I hadn’t done something, it’s not possible to let an animal die in the middle of a dodger”, explains the young woman in professional retraining.
Because of the heat, the center receives almost 200 calls from discoverers a day, “a huge workload and logistics”, describes Anne Fourier.
“At some point, the species that can’t stand the heat will no longer be there”, worries about his side Pascal Tavernier.